India’s Petcoke Imports Expected To More Than Double Despite Rising Global Coal Costs

India's Petcoke Imports Expected To More Than Double Despite Rising Global Coal Costs
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According to industry officials, India’s imports of petcoke are likely to double this year more than as competitive costs drive cement manufacturers to switch to fuel as an alternative to coal.

Petcoke, a refinery byproduct, is more expensive than coal per tonne but produces more energy when burned. Because of the hazardous emissions, it is normally not used as a fuel, but it is widely employed by the cement industry, which is its greatest customer because sulfur dioxide emissions are absorbed by limestone.

Global coal prices are nearing all-time highs, owing to concerns of a supply shortage following the European Commission’s decision to prohibit coal imports from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Imports of petcoke are likely to more than double in 2022, according to a coal merchant and two executives from significant Indian cement manufacturing businesses.

“I expect 10 million tonnes of petcoke to come into India in 2022,” said Vasudev Pamnani, a coal trader at Iman Resources.

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According to executives, domestic coal supplies being diverted to utilities to address a power crisis and increasing internal usage of domestic petcoke by refineries are also contributing to higher imports.

According to government figures, consumption increased by 34% to 4.2 million tonnes in the March quarter, the quickest rate in over six years and the first quarterly increase in more than two years.

According to data from trading firm Iman Resources, imported petcoke accounted for about half of total consumption during the quarter, with Saudi Arabia and the United States accounting for most exports.

“Import of fuel-grade petcoke was slow during 2021 due to high price and tightness in supply. But in the near past, fuel-grade petcoke is again becoming competitive to coal and its users are switching from coal,” Indian coal trader I-Energy said.

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